Children saved from Nazis plan memorial to parents


Sir Nicholas Winton organised eight evacuations of Jewish children from Prague in 1939. He died in 2015. 

From a Guardian Article, see it HERE.

Their 11th-hour escape on the eve of the second world war became the stuff of legend, earning international recognition for the man who organised it, Sir Nicholas Winton.

Now people spirited out of German-occupied Czechoslovakia when they were children are to pay homage to previously unsung heroes in the affair – the parents who boarded them on to Winton’s “kindertransport” trains bound for Britain in a desperate attempt to save them from the Nazis.

A memorial recognising the agonising moral choice made by parents of the 669 mostly Jewish children sent away is to be constructed in Prague’s main railway station, from where eight evacuation trains departed in the spring and summer of 1939, after Nazi Germany invaded Czechoslovakia.

It will stand near a statue of Winton, the British aid worker and former stockbroker who organised the transports and has been labelled “the British Schindler” for his role in rescuing Jews, a comparison to Oskar Schindler, the Nazi industrialist credited with saving 1,200 Jewish prisoners from Hitler’s death camps.

To be known as the Valediction memorial, the shrine will comprise a replica of the door of one of the original train wagons in a design meant to evoke the traumatic parting between parents and children on the station platform.

The door will be filled with glass engraved on each side with patterns of adult and child hands to represent heartrending scenes that were repeated many times at the point of departure.

Zuzana Marešová , 85, who left Prague at seven with her two older sisters in July 1939, said the survivors of the child transports had conceived the memorial as a final act of gratitude to their parents, having already paid generous tribute to Winton – who died aged 106 in 2015, a year after receiving the Czech Republic’s highest honour.

“Can you imagine putting your children on a train, saying goodbye to them, knowing you might never see them again? We had the opportunity to thank Nicky [Winton] personally, but never to thank our parents. One of my most vivid memories of the parting was standing inside the train and looking out of window at the parents on the platform,” recalled Marešová , 85, now living in Prague and one of the few evacuees to later be reunited with her parents.

“All of the parents were crying and waving. I can still see them today. I can remember the parents’ hands up and our noses pressed to the glass and that gave me the idea of the parting. The most frequently uttered sentence along the platform was, ‘See you soon’.”

Most of the parents died in the Holocaust, without seeing their children again.


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